On New Year’s Day, inspired by Novel Writing Winter, I leapt into the unknown and began writing my first work of speculative fiction. Yes, I’d written four other novels before this one, but none of them quite made it to full publication despite a number of calls for full manuscripts from editors.
Studying feedback from publishers and agents is rather like gathering intelligence prior to action. Last December, I gave up footling with my first four manuscripts and shoved them in a drawer, classing them as learning exercises. At the same time, I decided to stop second-guessing the market, thus liberating myself to write the novel that burned within me and be damned if being experimental meant breaking rules.
The novel is character-driven, written from the viewpoint of six different characters in the first and second-person present, first-person past, as well as third-person past and present. It also includes poetry.
The working title, Eulogy to the Last Man was the name of the original piece of flash fiction upon which I based the story. However, as the novel progressed, new characters sprouted up alongside the original two and led me down unexpected paths, calling for me to change the title to Wightland.
In the first 81,000-word draft, I’ve concentrated primarily on characterisation and plot, but during its revision I might expand upon the story’s setting, turning it into a longer work. Whether I do this or not, depends upon my beta readers’ reaction to the approach I’ve used, which moves between minimalism and zooming in for bold, detailed close-ups.
I have total belief in this project and can’t wait for Monday to arrive, when the second draft begins.